#AdoptionTalk Link Up

#AdoptionTalk: What is “Correct” Adoption Language?

I’ve always called him my biological father. My mom called him The Sperm Donor. His mother – my biological paternal grandmother, who everyone called “Nana” – called him my dad.

Of course, Nana also persisted in referring to my sister, as my half-sister, even after I corrected her. And she called my daddy my stepdad, even though she knew he had adopted me.

I never liked that my mom called him The Sperm Donor, but I never bothered to correct her. That would have been disloyal – after all, he was the enemy. He had walked out on us – abandoned us

Throughout my life, I’ve allowed others to control the descriptors – some have called him my birth dad, my real dad, “that lying bastard that walked out on you and your mom….” The only one I’ve ever corrected is “real” dad, even though my preference is biological father.

#AdoptionTalk What is "appropriate" adoption language? Who decides?

Recently, we had to have an adoptive family assessment before we could get the final approvals to finalize Lil Bit’s adoption. She asked how we planned to talk about adoption in the family and I explained that we’ve already started discussing it – we read books about adoption, the boys have all seen pictures of their first moms, and the twins keep asking when we’ll go see the judge so he can give Lil Bit our last name….

She approved of everything except our use of first mom. Her professional opinion is that first mom might be confusing and we should use birth mom instead….

That makes exactly ZeRO sense to me. I can’t fathom how first mom is more confusing than birth mom, but whatever. She’s the professional (and her blessing is required to keep my youngest son forever), so I smiled and agreed to give her thoughts serious consideration.

But that combined with my own experience, got me thinking – who determines what is appropriate, or acceptable, or correct, adoption language?

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#ComeHomeLala: A Joyful Prayer Request

#ComeHomeLala

I’ve been planning this post for a couple of weeks – ever since I realized that this week’s optional #AdoptionTalk topic is International Adoption. And then just Tuesday I learned that I would have to change the plan slightly – it is the most brilliant,sparkly, fan-freaking-tastic change of plans in the history of ever!#ComeHomeLala Please pray that their trip and Lala's homecoming will be safe, smooth, and uneventful, and that this wonderful, beautiful Forever Family will continue to bond, love, and grow.

Okay, maybe I should back up.

I know this amazing woman. Who has an amazing family. And amazing children. One of whom she has been waiting for over 2-1/2 years to bring home from Haiti.

And Tuesday my friend learned that all the i’s had been dotted and the last document signed – and she and her husband flew yesterday to Haiti to FINALLY bring home their baby girl!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

My prayer request is this: please pray that their trip and Lala’s homecoming will be safe, smooth, and uneventful, and that this wonderful, beautiful Forever Family will continue to bond, love, and grow. (more…)

#AdoptionTalk: Nicknames

Oh, he's just a lil bit!I realize it’s pretty silly in the grand scheme of things, but we take nicknames pretty seriously around here. Okay, okay… *I* take nicknames pretty seriously.

For every placement we’ve had, I spend many hours deliberating nicknames. What you may not know is that all of my kids’ blog handles are their
actual nicknames. We really do call them Squish, Squirm and Lil Bit. So for me it’s a pretty serious proposition. The nickname has to fit the child, number 1; it has to be something that is unlikely to be construed inappropriately…. And it has to be something that won’t completely humiliate the child when he/she is older – cause nicknames tend to stick around here.

Of course, I obviously violated my own rule with Lil Bit.

He’s going to hate me for that someday.

It really wasn’t my fault.

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Foster Family Holiday Hurdles – Halloween

It’s no secret that foster parenting is hard. What non-foster families often don’t realize is how EVERY.PART.OF.LIFE. is more complicated when you’re a foster parent.

Case in point: Halloween costumes.

Let me just say that I realize it’s barely September and a little early to be talking about Halloween costumes, but thanks to foster care, I have to start thinking about it now.

I LOVE themed Halloween costumes. As a kid, I always envied the families that had coordinated costumes, and now it’s something I love to do with my kids. But…. Foster Care. Since I never know what size my family will be from one week to the next, I have to carefully consider appropriate themes each year.

The theme has to be expandable, in case I get another placement between now and Halloween.

It also has to be collapsible – and not dependent on anyone that isn’t a forever child. In EVERY.PART.OF.LIFE. is more complicated when you're a foster parent.2013, I had a great plan! Lady Bug was going to be Merida, carrying a teddy bear to represent one of her triplet bear cub brothers, and the twins were going to be the other two bear cubs. How freaking cute, right?!

Except Lady Bug was reunified with her dad on October 5th… So we were looking at two bear cubs and a teddy bear… Not great.

I had to scramble a bit at the last minute, but ended up finding these adorable little monsters.

Last year I really left it to the last minute. There was so much going on with trying to get Squirm’s adoption finalized that I just didn’t start planning in time. We ended up with going with a pirate theme, with Lil Bit doing a cameo as a shark. (more…)

#AdoptionTalk: Four under 4 is nuts!

How far should you go to keep siblings together?After Lil Bit, we're done adopting. The addition of Squeaker has proven, unequivocally, that four under 4 is nuts - anything beyond that is terrifying....

Four under 4 is nuts!

 

When Lil Bit was sheltered, and placed with a relative who had no intention of adopting him, I fought (and fought) to have him placed with us.

Not because I wanted another boy (remember I said no more boys three boys ago), and not because I was in a hurry to adopt a third child – but because siblings are important.

Squirm has 6 older siblings (that we know of). I know where three of them are and will be able to give him some direction when he’s older and ready to find them. I would love to start play-dates with them now, but they don’t know he exists. And their adoptive parents apparently plan to keep it that way. I have no idea where to even start looking for his three oldest siblings.

So when it looked like he was going to lose another sibling – because this relative wanted to give her friend a child – I got mad. And I got vocal. Eventually, when Lil Bit was about 3 weeks old, the relative officially stated that she had no intention of adopting him, and the paperwork was finally started to move him to our home. He was four weeks old when he came home – exactly one week before his first Christmas.

People frequently ask if Lil Bit and Squirm know they are biological half-brothers. I honestly don’t know. They definitely know they are brothers and that Squish doesn’t look like them, but I have no idea if they realize they’re related to each other in a way they’re not related to Squish. We’ve discussed the fact that Lil Bit and Squirm have the same first mom, and Squish has a different first mom, but I have no way of knowing how much they understand.

Obviously, they’ll know someday. And I worry sometimes that Squish will feel left out because he doesn’t have a biological sibling in our family – or because he’s the only blond.

SuperDad and I have recently agreed that we are done adopting. We want to foster for a long time and if we adopt any more kids, we just aren’t going to be able to continue. The addition of Squeaker has proven to us, unequivocally, that four kids under age 4 (all in diapers) is nuts… And it doesn’t help that she doesn’t appear to be anywhere remotely near sleeping through the night….

So one question we will probably have to address at some point – if Squish and Lil Bit end up with another biological sibling, are we willing to take that baby, if necessary? At least right now, the answer is “probably not”. Even a few months ago I wouldn’t have even considered turning away a biological sibling, but…. four under 4 is nuts!

It’s crazy to me to think of saying no, and I feel a little guilty even contemplating it. But SuperDad and I have realized that the last thing we want is to get to a point where Squish has a new sibling that needs a home – and we have to say no. And the worst case would be continuing to say yes until we’ve gotten ourselves more children than we can handle.

Four under 4 is nuts and, quite frankly, anything beyond that is terrifying.

 #AdoptionTalk Link Up

Adoption Talk Linkup Hosts

This week’s topic: Anything Goes!
(optional topic: Transracial Adoption)

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Starfish Confidential #AdoptionTalk

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